Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, last week (Image courtesy: Twitter/@ZelenskyyUa)
The Canadian Parliament’s recognition of a Ukrainian veteran who served in a Nazi military unit during the Second World War continues to draw flak from several corners of the world, including Russia which has called the incident “outrageous”.
Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old immigrant from Ukraine who fought as part of the 14th Waffen SS Division, was on Friday introduced by Anthony Rota, Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, as “a Ukrainian Canadian war veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” and “a Ukrainian hero and a Canadian hero”.
Parliamentarians and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applauded Hunka by giving him a standing ovation.
“Canada has been and remains a safe heaven for Ukrainian Nazis and not only them. Apologies for ignorance are ridiculous while standing ovation tells it all. Thank God Zelensky’s grandfather does not see what his grandchild has become. Disgusting!” tweeted Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador to India, on Monday.
Canada has been and remains a safe heaven for Ukrainian Nazis and not only them. Apologies for ignorance are ridiculous while standing ovation tells it all. Thank God Zelensky’s grandfather does not see what his grandchild has become. Disgusting!🤮 pic.twitter.com/eqO5EM4jgk
— Denis Alipov 🇷🇺 (@AmbRus_India) September 25, 2023
Even though the Speaker of Canada’s House of Commons has apologised for praising the Ukrainian veteran, the issue has boiled over into a major controversy with several organisations severely condemning the Trudeau government for honouring member of a
Nazi military unit whose crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well-documented.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), one of Canada’s leading human rights and social advocacy organisations, is insisting that an apology is owed to every Holocaust survivor and veteran of the Second World War who fought the Nazis, and an explanation must be provided as to how the individual entered the hallowed halls of Canadian Parliament and received recognition from the Speaker of the House and a standing ovation.
Another massive embarrassment for Canada!
A Nazi soldier Yaroslav Hunka honored with standing ovation in HoC in presence of Justin Trudeau & Zelensky.
After outrage, House speaker Anthony Rota offered “deepest apologies”.
— The Hawk Eye (@thehawkeyex) September 25, 2023
“At a time of rising antisemitism and Holocaust distortion, it is incredibly disturbing to see Canada’s Parliament rise to applaud an individual who was a member of a unit in the Waffen-SS, a Nazi military branch responsible for the murder of Jews and others and that was declared a criminal organisation during the Nuremberg Trials,” said a FSWC statement over the weekend.
Conservative MP Andrew Scheer: “In this case it would have taken a simple Google search to find a blog post written that individual saying that he served in an SS division, in a Nazi division, during World War II … This issue does not end with your statement or your apology.” pic.twitter.com/jd9x3L2KTb
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 25, 2023
Much like several other countries, including India, Ottawa’s diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation too have nosedived in the recent times.
In June, Russia gave a demarche to the Deputy Head of the Canadian Diplomatic Mission in Moscow after the Canadian government’s move to confiscate the An-124 cargo airliner, owned by the Volga-Dnepr company, “illegally held” at Toronto airport since February 2022.
“The Canadian diplomat was told that the actions of official Ottawa, following a Russophobic course, will have the most serious consequences for Russian-Canadian relations, which, due to the fault of the Trudeau regime, are on the verge of collapse,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry.
⚡️Check out the shameful video of
🇺🇦 President Zelensky, 🇨🇦 PM Trudeau with both chambers of parliament of Canada all joining in the standing ovation for 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka, veteran of Ukrainian ‘Galicia’ division, a #Nazi criminal who found shelter in 🇨🇦 after the WW2. pic.twitter.com/vbASZBeva2
— Russia in South Africa 🇷🇺 (@EmbassyofRussia) September 24, 2023
More than a month later, Canada announced its latest wave of sanctions with not just the Russian military-industrial complex enterprises, telecommunications companies and financial institutions, businessmen but also cultural figures blacklisted.
“In the spirit of the notorious ‘cancel culture’, a number of Russian actors and popular singers, as well as music producer I.I. Prigozhin and director N.S. Mikhalkov, are now banned from entering Canada on political grounds as persons with an alien worldview,” stated Moscow while accusing Canada of declaring a total “hybrid war” on Russia.